It may well prove to be the broadcaster’s biggest audience of the year (as it was in 2014).
There was another 92,000 watching on ABC News 24, taking the total metro audience to 1.46m.
Adding Regional viewers, the numbers boosted to 2 million on both channels.
There was also 1.01m for the Family Fireworks at 9pm, up from 984,000 a year ago, plus 64,000 on ABC News 24.
According to ABC, in Sydney more than 1 in 4 tuned into the coverage.
Justin Holdforth, ABC Head of Sport and Events says: “The Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks are an iconic and much loved event. I’m delighted that the ABC was again able to deliver a spectacular night of family entertainment to audiences across Australia.”
But some media and social media were more divided over the broadcast, again criticising the broadcaster’s technical skills, some of the presenting and editorial choices.
Last year ABC was widely castigated for its inaugural broadcast. This year there was improvement, relying on more pre-recorded segments rather than asking presenters to freewheel for 4 hours.
But it wasn’t without some hiccups with vision freezing, shots of the backs of presenter heads while watching the fireworks and Julia Zemiro’s unfortunate”Oh thank God” at the end of the broadcast before her microphone had been switched off. Watching Tom Ballard’s helicopter supposedly go down amid a barrage of fireworks was bad timing, given recent news incidents.
Such vast Live broadcasts are not easy. ABC would do well to put former Nine exec Adrian Swift onto the case next year.
But while some media insisted the event was a waste of money and it should be handed back to a commercial broadcaster they are possibly forgetting such a grand event usually attracts criticism no matter who has it.
In 2010 readers criticised Nine’s broadcast for erratic vision switching, lack of HD, presenters (Cameron Williams, Alicia Gorey), news wrap (Peter Overton) and music party (Richard Wilkins).
The 2009 broadcast by TEN was scoffed at for using cheerleaders and Seven’s Melbourne fireworks were criticised for network self-promotion.
Similar big ticket events such as Olympics and Logies also attract plenty of opinion. Even the ABC Network in the US was criticised for its broadcast -which is not to say such opinions are without merit.
But context is also important.
At any big party, it’s inevitable that some guests will weigh in on the hosts, the music, the food and yes, sometimes even the fireworks.